WB approves $200m loans for Bangladesh fight against dengue

File Image.

File Image.

The World Bank has approved $200 million to assit Bangladesh as the country can  improve primary healthcare services for treatment, prevention and referral for common illnesses including mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, and medical waste management in different parts of Dhaka, Narayanganj and Chattogram.

The Urban Health, Nutrition and Population Project aims to establish a network of primary health centres offering a broad range of health, nutrition and population services along with a direct referral system with secondary and tertiary-level facilities, according to a statement issued by the World Bank on Thursday (31 august).

According to statement, about 2.5 million children in the two Dhaka city corporations, the Chattogram City Corporation, Savar and Narayanganj’s Tarabo municipalities will receive the services.

Abdoulaye Seck who is the World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan said,  “Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in improving healthcare, particularly in rural areas. But urban areas have limited public healthcare facilities. Hence, poor people and slum dwellers are often forced to turn to more expensive private healthcare. Further, with high population density, climate change, and rapid urbanisation, new health challenges are emerging, including an increase of dengue cases, and infectious and non-communicable diseases.”

Meanwhile the project is expected to improve antenatal services for women, with a target of over 2 laksh 50 thaousand women receiving at least four check-ups during pregnancy. It will also support hypertension screening and follow-up of about 1.3 million adults, the World Bank said.

“To reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on medical care for the poor people, the project will renovate selected existing public health facilities, including government outdoor dispensaries, and family planning clinics.”

Also the project will focus on environmental health and preventive services like mosquito control, medical waste management, behaviour change communication to promote healthy lifestyles to prevent illnesses and mitigate the effects of climate change and air pollution on human health. 

To prevent dengue, the project will introduce a climate-based dengue early warning system and outbreak response capacities as well as take measures to clear breeding sites, according to the statement.

Regarding the project Iffat Mahmud, senior operations officer at the World Bank and Task Team Leader said that “the impact of climate change on mosquito-borne and infectious diseases is often overlooked. An overreliance on fogging or spraying targeting adult mosquitoes and untargeted larval control is not an efficient use of resources.” 

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